Darr crosses goal of 200m record off list early

Cody Darr

STRASBURG – Toward the end of last year’s high school track and field season, Strasburg’s Cody Darr, then a junior, began looking ahead at the goals he hoped to accomplish in his senior season. Chief among them was the school record in the 200-meter race.

After just one meet in the 2015 season, Darr already needs to come up with a new set of goals for his senior year.

Darr — who already held Strasburg’s 400 record — broke the school record in the 200 during his first time out on the track this spring, as he won the event at the season-opening Central Invitational last Thursday with a time of 22.55 seconds, beating the previous record of 22.92 set by Troy Gordon in 2013.

“I didn’t think I’d get the record right off the bat,” said Darr, the Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for March 22-28, after school on Tuesday. “I was hoping to, but it really got into effect when the kid that came in second [William Monroe’s Khalil Green] came up to me and said ‘I haven’t been beat yet.’ That just gave me more motivation to want to go out and put everything else I had into that race just to let him have his first loss.”

Riding that pre-race motivation, Darr beat Green by nearly half a second and left no doubt in the mind of Strasburg jumps/sprints coach Emily Brandon that he was going to break the record as the race was unfolding.

“Watching that race, it was pretty obvious he was going to break it because he was flying around that corner,” Brandon said. “We all kind of looked at each other and were like, he’s going to do it.”

Darr’s success at the Central Invitational didn’t stop with the 200, however. The senior placed sixth in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 11 inches (his personal record is 19-05) and he also helped lead the Rams’ boys team to wins in the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

“He’s a real leader,” Brandon said. “The kids look up to him, especially because he’s a senior now. We’ve got a sophomore on [the relay teams] now and a couple juniors. We know that if we put Cody Darr out on the track he’s going to give us all he has and that’s all any coach could ever ask for, any teammate could ever ask for. It is beneficial having him in that group for that reason.”

Similar to last season, Darr said the plan this spring is for him to bounce between a handful of events, and Brandon hopes to qualify Darr for the Group 2A state meet in the 100, 200, 400 and both the 4×100 and 4×400 relays to give him some options when it comes time to travel back down to Radford in early June.

Darr got a taste of success at the state meet last season when he placed fifth in the 400 and helped the Rams’ 4×100 relay team break its own school record.

“It makes me want to get back after being able to go back and be able to place fifth in the state out of the 2A schools,” Darr said. “It felt amazing to know that I was able to keep up with the fastest kids in the state and everything. That’s just my motivation this year from last year, just push right back up into it and see if I can get better than what I did last year.”

Darr, who also broke the school record in the 400 at the state meet last season with his time of 51.30 seconds, said he learned to be more aggressive in the 400 in Radford and he hopes that leads to even greater success in 2015. But based on the recent results, Brandon thinks the 400 may no longer be Darr’s best event.

“I think he could place really high in the 200 this year, especially with doing so well so early in the season,” Brandon said. “He’s really working hard. He ran the 400 last year, ran it well, but the 200 looks like it could be his best. But we’re going to find out because it always changes.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com